As forest fires continue to rage across Australia, experts fear that the country’s wildlife is suffering a severe blow. Researchers from the University of Sydney they estimate that around 480 million animals have been killed by fires since they started in September, reports the Times.
There are up to 8,000 koalas among the victims, almost a third of the population of these animals from New South Wales. “We will know more when the fires have calmed down and an appropriate assessment can be made“, says the Australian Environment Minister, Sussan Ley. Koalas are one of the most affected species, mainly because they move slowly and live among the wooded areas that are decimated by fires.
“The fires burned so quickly that there was significant animal mortality in the trees“, he claims Mark Graham, an ecologist from the Nature Conservation Council. Meanwhile, fires continue to tear apart over 4 million hectares in five states.
Forest fires they are expected every year during the Australian summer monthshowever, this season has been particularly brutal, mainly due to a heat wave that has seen temperatures above 40 ° C in all six states. While the situation is increasingly desperate, however, aid comes from all over the globe: Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, a small koala hospital in New South Wales, has raised over 1.5 million dollars through a crowdfunding page.